Image Sources

You need images all the time--for newsletters, worship slides, event advertisements, websites, messages of all sorts. More, you need legal images. Fortunately, there are a number of good sources for such images. I am sticking to free sources here. Any suggestions for further additions or amendments are welcome.

Pixabay offers a massive library of free images with no restrictions attached. They are highly searchable by all sorts of concept and concrete keywords--anything from "men" to "glory." The primary drawback is that the images of people are heavily white; it is easy to imply, for example, that only white people pray if one isn't careful with the images.

Unsplash is also a great source and the images of people are more varied. Their keywording is also robust, so concept and action words usually provide a good range of choices. offers "Beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people for free." They seem to have a good selection, but are so far not as well key-worded. A search for "women" will turn up plenty; a search for "joy" or "prayer" will get scant results. Hopefully that will improve!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art  0ffers a number of free works. These ttend to be much older--often Medieval and/or black and white. Be sure to check "Creative Commons" when you search as not all of the images on the site are free for use.

Image Editing

Finding the image is only half the battle. After that, it's usually necessary to do something with it--to add a logo, give the sign some words, or otherwise attach meaning. Many of you probably already use Adobe Photoshop, but if you don't--or even if you do--here are a few other programs that can help along the way. As with the images, this list sticks to free programs.

Faststone Image viewer is a life-saver. It will resize and convert as many images as you want all at once and without opening them. So—if you have a bunch of big images you need resized, or a lot of images you need to change from one format to another (png to jpeg, for example), this is the goto program. It is a serious time-saver on format and size conversions.

GIMP, which is free, does everything Photoshop can do, and most of the commands are either identical or so close that transferring from one to the other is not difficult. There's a steep learning curve on both GIMP and Photoshop, but it pays off. It allows for editing in layers, which means the background image can be faded to allow the text to stand out more, text can be added and easily moved around, images can be cropped to the ratio needed, colors and focus can be adjusted, and things can be made to look generally better.

PDF to JPG—sometimes, someone sends you a PDF image & you need to upload it to a website. pdf2jpg is a quick, online converter.

Microsoft Paint is not, strictly speaking, free, but it comes with your MS computer and is good for less strenuous edits--if you just need to resize a single image, slap some words on the sign, or do a quick cropping job without worrying about ratios, you're good to go. 


HTML Color Picker Making banners, designing web pages, and writing newsletters all require COLOR and plenty of it. Color picker helps immeasurably in this. Give it an html color--which you can choose by pointing to the color you like on a color chart present on page--and it will provide you with a number of possible combinations. You may never actually want to write a newsletter with four brightly colored headline backgrounds, but if you do, you can use this page's Tetradic color selector for help. Less vibrant alternatives are also available for design purposes.

Better still, the site will give you both the color's html and rgb names, so any work you do on your photo-editing software can use the same colors. It's a win!

Social Media Images

Social Media Cheat Sheet: Every social media site has its own set of image sizes and ratios. Every. Single. One. What's more, the images are almost never the same ratio from one site to another; you can't just make one image for Facebook and drop it into your Instagram or Twitter profile. Also, they change their ideal image sizes and ratios at the drop of a hat and without warning. 

It is, at least, possible to take the guess work out of sizing with a good cheat sheet that lists all the display sizes. 

One that isn't listed on the sheet is the new Google Business Post size. At present, the ration is 4:3 and the recommended size is 1200 x 900. Centering doesn't entirely work, so keep any text away from the far edges.